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Big Rapids is hoping to get some big bucks from the State of Michigan. The City Commission authorized a grant application to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for an Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement, or ICE, grant at Monday's meeting.


We are applying for over $1.9 million,” says City Manager Mark Gifford. And what will the city do with all that money if they get the grant?


A brand new water main, new roadway, and there will be some additional work in terms of sidewalks and trees, maybe some bike lanes in certain spots,” he says.


Gifford notes the water main is the main issue behind the grant application, but there will be other improvements and the project will cover a wide area.


It's our only ten inch water main, it's made of cast iron so it's brittle – we've had many, many breaks. So it's a reliability enhancer for the university, for that area of town, and connecting the whole system. It's going to go from Oak Street all the way to State Street [along] Ives Avenue, one block of Magnolia and then there will be two blocks on Clark Street the other side of State behind Wendy's and Taco Bell.”


Although the grant requires $346,000 in matching funds from the city, Gifford says that money has already been set aside in the city's budget, and Ferris State has committed to contributing $30,000 to the project.


The city expects to hear from the state on whether they will be awarded the grant sometime next month. If they get the grant, Gifford expects construction to start sometime in 2018.



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